Hope for Tomorrow (HFT) identified a lack of assistance for students affected by the disaster planning to take university entrance exams. It costs graduating high school students an average of ¥230,000 (US$2,000) nationally to take entrance exams, a heavy burden for even a normal family and an extremely high hurdle for families who have lost their homes or livelihoods. Therefore, Hope for Tomorrow decided to support the educational advancement of promising high school students affected by the disaster by offering financial assistance to lighten the burden of these exams. TAMF provided funding to Hope For Tomorrow for 23 Ishinomaki students to help them pass this important hurdle to attending college this past April.
At the beginning of February, HFT received applications for 2014/2015 Educational Support Program from Ishinomaki High School, including the principal’s recommendation and grant applicant forms. The HFT board of directors screened the applicant forms and approved 23 students for support. HFT received examination reports written by students of Ishinomaki High School and confirmed that all students met the requirements for receiving the grant.
Message from The Chief Course and Career Counselor for Ishinomaki High School:
The condition four years after the disaster
The proportion of students whose houses were destroyed at the disaster was 71.8% (25.5% were uninhabitable while 46.3% were inhabitable), which still showed the high percentage. The number of students who were living outside their own home such as in temporary housing, rented accommodation, or relative’s house was 128 which hadn’t changed that much since last year (last year was 139 students). The percentage of students whose household income decreased accounted for 21.7% (last year was 25%) so there are still many students who need financial support. Some students need to receive mental health care as well, especially when they experienced the disaster around the age of elementary school or middle school.
We still need your support
As four years passed since the disaster, the amount of donation decreased substantially so we terminated the aid which enabled all students to take the mock exam they needed to take to apply to college. The fee of mock exam this year was JPY 23,420, five times as much as the last year’s JPY 4,620, which many students found difficult to afford so your student grant means a lot to us.
Message to supporters
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to those who continuously support the students in the affected area while many people are starting to forget about them. This year, we had the pleasure of receiving the donation from Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund. We are very grateful for all the support that was extended to us and with that support, the students were able to apply to college this year. We would like to thank you once again for all your support, and we hope that you continue to provide us your support.
MESSAGES from Ishinomaki High School students receiving aid:
- I knew that our household finance was seriously impacted by the disaster so I thought I was not able to apply to private colleges or colleges that locate far from home. But my teacher told me about this support program so I was able to apply to Hokkaido University which I always wanted to attend. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity your support has given me. I hope you continue to provide the opportunity to go to college to as many students as possible with your support.
- I wanted to study law but there were only limited number of college I could apply since my family is single-mother family. But with your support, I was able to apply to the college with good reputation.
- I felt guilty for applying to college because I knew the expensive application fee and travel fee will impact our household finance. But since I was able to receive the support, I didn’t have to worry about the expenses and was able to concentrate on studying.
- I didn’t think I was able to make it to college because my house was half destroyed by the disaster and my father had to quit his work due to his health condition so we were in financially difficult position. But thanks to Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund and Hope for Tomorrow, I was able to receive financial support. I want to study hard at college and work for my hometown Ishinomaki and Miyagi Prefecture in the future.
- Thanks to all the warm support I was able to receive including the support from Taylor Anderson Memorial Fund, I was able to apply for college that is located far from home. I know that the life will not always be easy, but I will never forget the generous support I was able to receive and will do my best to make the most of it.
In conslusion, we plan to support Ishinomaki High School seniors again this year to help them achieve ther dream of attending college. We thank you for your help in making this possible!